Re: Can We Have Comments?

In reply to: shrrrrub

As much as I’d like to, I cannot begin this post with a simple answer to that question. It’s a simple question, but its actual answer is nuanced enough that a simple response would not justly answer the question — even considering that in all likelihood, the question from shrrrrub’s point of view boils down to ‘Please add the ability to comment so that people can respond to my post’.

The problem is that “comment” can refer to many different things.

In the context of a blog

In the context of a blog, it typically refers to a section at the bottom of a post where users can read short messages from others and write their own. In this context, the answer is simply “no”. A blog with such a comment system is essentially a forum (or subreddit) where only one person is allowed to create new threads.

This creates a lopsided relationship between the author of a post and its readers. By turning a blog post into a forum thread, readers are discouraged from writing their own reply post, and instead mostly reply in the thread itself. This system inherently reduces someone’s digital independence; either the original author can moderate the comments (thereby reducing the replying authors’ independence), or the original author cannot control that section of their page (thereby reducing the original author’s independence).

My primary goal with FarkasCity is helping nontechnical people become digitally independent — that is the sentiment behind the “About FarkasCity” blurb, and that is why the rules allow you to do basically anything that won’t get me in legal trouble*† — so I will not provide a comment system which goes against that goal.

In the context of conversations

In the context of conversations, a comment is a statement or remark about another statement or remark. In conversations, all communications are equal and everyone can speak independently. If Alice says something, Bob can respond. There’s nothing Alice can do to prevent Bob from commenting, but she also doesn’t then have to convey Bob’s comment every time she says her original statement to someone else.

This is partly due to the nature of ephemeral communication. Bob’s comment isn’t conveyed every time Alice makes her statement because Bob’s comment doesn’t last forever. Online, however, this breaks down. Bob’s comment on Alice’s post can last as long as the original post does, so it is conveyed every time someone reads the post, thus reducing Alice’s digital independence.

In the context of the Internet

The solution to this is for people to comment by writing reply posts. This doesn’t have to be done in any particular way. I structure mine like emails because I personally like that style, but reply posts can be as simple as a regular post that refers to someone else’s.

This method preserves both the original author’s and the replying authors’ digital independence — the original author retains full control of their post, and replying authors have full control over their comments. What’s more, is that if the original author lists some way of contacting them on their blog, then they can be informed of new replies, thus enabling them to curate their own comment section if they so wish.

In short: just write a comment.



  1. …and that isn’t commercial content or advertising, because I’m not going to host someone’s commercial content for free.
  2. This is a simplification and is not a substitute for reading the rules.

#HowTo #Replies